The Robinson-Roeder-Ward Fellowship is awarded by the Folklore and Education Section in memory of folklorists Beverly Robinson, Bea Roeder, and Vaughn Ward. Each was a person of vision, scholarship, and activism, and they inspired a generation of folklorists working in K-12 education. The prize is awarded to an educator who is engaged in folklore, ethnography, or cultural heritage and K-12 education. The prize provides the recipient a stipend of $500 to participate in the annual meeting of the American Folklore Society and a free membership in the Folklore and Education Section for one year.
Beverly Robinson was known as a theater historian, folklorist, producer, writer, director and professor in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Beverly received her MA in folklore from the University of California, Berkeley and her PhD in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. She was director of the African Studies Program at UCLA. A prolific writer, noted author, and contributor to several chapters in books and numerous articles, Beverly was also known for her research for such films as Miss Evers’ Boys, Nightjohn, and The Color Purple. As a scholar and innovator, Beverly brought folklore and folklife into the public eye. Beverly passed away in May 2002.
Bea Roeder, a native Californian, became fascinated by Colorado’s rich folk heritage while working with Southwest Studies Folklore collections at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. She returned to graduate school to pursue her newfound interest and received her PhD, focusing on Hispanic folk medicine, from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1984. Bea worked for the Colorado Council on the Arts as a regional folklorist and was a force behind the CCA/NEA project Ties that Bind, a multimedia kit about Colorado’s many folk traditions for school teachers. She was deeply involved with Native American culture and spirituality and a student of the Lakota language. Bea passed away in June 2003.
Vaughn Ward, a folklorist and musician, was a founding member of Caffe Lena. Vaughn taught high school English where her students organized the first Niskayuna Festival. She was a staff folklorist for the Lower Adirondack Arts Council and organized the Adirondack Liar’s Club in 1986. She also founded the Black Crow Network to support tradition bearers and those with an interest in interpreting the history of the Mohawk-Champlain region and eastern Adirondacks. Vaughn passed away in December 2001.
Previous RRW Fellowship Awardees:
2004: Tamara Newman for her work in incorporating interview and ethnography fo WWII vets into her high-school English class.
2005: Renee Morris. Renee’s students conduct original research and document family stories, writing about issues that affect us daily and publish yearly stories from their research.
2006: Mark Wagler, a 4th and 5th-grade teacher at Randall School in Madison, WI. Wagler regularly incorporates personal and cultural study into his classrooms.
2008: Emily Coffey of Edmonton, KY, for her work in incorporating folk arts into her classroom.
2011: Heather Cunningham for her work as an educator to incorporate folklore in to her curriculum offered to students at City Charter High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
2013: Natasha Agrawal, an ESL teacher at Carroll Robbins Elementary School in Trenton, New Jersey.
2018: Lacey Cornell of Kids Cook! Albuquerque for her work in incorporating foodways.
2019: Andrew Feight for his work developing Scioto Historical, an educational mobile app and website with map-based, interactive, multi-media virtual historic tours.